Stourhead Knowing that Stourhead can get extremely busy while the changing leaves produce their spectacular annual autumn show, we thought we should meet up at the noticeboard near reception rather than try to park near each other when the volunteers in hi-viz insist you're guided ever further into the overflow car park. So when we arrived at around 0930 there were half a dozen other cars in the car park and the restaurant was deserted. We weren't exactly filling the place ourselves, either. Seven of us set off on a wider estate walk that skirts the house, heads up to the obelisk and meanders down to the nascent River Stour, then into the woods to emerge by the lake. The weather, unpromising on the forecast, took pity on us and brightened to show off Stourhead's glory. We then visited St Peter's Church, with its Stourton and Hoare family memorials. Most noticeable, however, was the water on the floor from the leaky roof, caused by thieves stripping the lead.
Pitney In the glorious sunshine we had a lovely walk through the fields and along the back lanes of Pitney, led by Cynthia. She apologised that the going was a little testing in places where ruts had dried rock hard in the sun but otherwise this was what, in my fantasy as a townie, I visualised as "The Countryside", what you might call "l'Angleterre profonde". Ok, there were distant tractors, or chainsaws, but as we know it's only town people that think the countryside's quiet! We started and ended the walk at Pitney Farm Shop, where we enjoyed good coffee (or tea) and gorgeous cakes.
Aller Led by Liz & Rob. Starting from the recreation ground car park we walked up to the church, through the churchyard and out onto the public footpath across the moor. There are various crossing points for rhynes as you head for the river, marked by green disks like so many frisbees mounted on posts. It's spotting them that's the challenge. Across the bridge over the Sowy to the Parrett, then along the Parrett levée back towards Langport. At the next bridge we crossed back over the Sowy and followed the rhynes back towards Aller and the recreation ground. Some of us had coffee at the Old Pound Inn. Weather and company good. This was the first walk I did when Liz and I joined SU3A in 2015 and I'd wanted to repeat it for some time. We recced it early in the year, desperate to find an off-road walk that wasn't knee-deep in mud. The reasoning was that peat isn't muddy. Hmm. We just about got down to the Sowy but couldn't even reach the bridge, access was under a couple of feet of water. A definite summer walk!
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